Four (New Zealand)
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|Launched||29 June 1997|
|Closed||2 July 2016|
|Owned by||MediaWorks New Zealand|
|Picture format||PAL (576i) 16:9|
|Slogan||"NZ's Most (Facebook) Liked TV channel" & "feels like Four"|
|Formerly called||TV4, C4|
|Sister channel(s)||TV3, The Edge TV|
|DVB 64-QAM on band IV|
|DVB QPSK on 12456 MHz|
Four (stylised as FOUR) was the second New Zealand television channel owned and operated by MediaWorks New Zealand, broadcast via the state-owned Kordia transmission network. The channel launched on 29 June 1997 as TV4 and was replaced by C4 on 3 October 2003. It was relaunched on 6 February 2011 as a separate channel from C4.
In general, the channel's target audience was 18- to 49-year-olds and could be broader in its appeal, with programming which attracted a wider, and more mature audience. During early mornings and late afternoons the channel screened a range of children's programming such as Sesame Street and in the evenings screened shows aimed at the mainstream audience. Overnight and late mornings – early afternoons the channel screened Infomercials and Auto TV (Car Commercials). Four broadcast mostly American programming, with the exemption of Sticky TV and Smash which were in-house produced Auckland hosted youth shows and the Pukana youth show which is produced from a Maori language government fund. Pukana also airs on one of the two government funded Maori language channels.
The history of Four dates back to 1997 when TV3 decided to launch a second channel as TV4. TV4 was an entertainment network and screened a wide range of imported shows such as South Park, Beverly Hills 90210, Beavis and Butthead. After the millennium new programming was scarce, with the infiltration of 1980's and 1990s repeats. In 2003 TV4 was replaced by a music channel C4.
In October 2010 MediaWorks announced TV4 would return as Four, the new network would now focus on children's programming during the day and in the evenings will screen a range of shows aimed at the 18- to 49-year-old audience. The first programme to air on Four was The Simpsons episode "Elementary School Musical" (not coincidentally featuring New Zealand's own Flight of the Conchords).
At the end of 2012, Four began screening some new episodes of shows within seven days of the show being broadcasting in the United States under the Fast Four brand. Examples of shows include The Simpsons, Family Guy, Glee and How I Met Your Mother. New Zealand TV networks typically start screening most US television series around five months after the original release, usually first screening in late January or February at the end of the New Zealand summer, catching up to the US at the end of the season as all 22 episodes are broadcast week-after-week, not spread out over nine months as in the US. The transition of shows like Glee from TV3 to Four also lost the NZ On Air funding that is given to TV3 to get EIA-608 captions converted from source masters to the preferred Teletext format by TVNZ's Access Services. As New Zealand broadcasters are completely reliant on this process for program subtitling.
At 10:50pm on Saturday 2 July 2016, the channel closed with Feist singing 1,2,3,4 the same Sesame Street song that was used to relaunch the channel in 2011, preceding the launch of Bravo the channel then faded to black. The final show to play on Four was The Biggest Loser.
Television output deals
- 20th Century Fox Television
- CBS Television Distribution (until the end of 2012 for new content)
- NBC Universal (only for existing primetime shows)
- Sony Pictures Television (from late 2013)
Note: SD material for Four only shows with archived subtitles for some re-runs.
Four Plus 1
Mediaworks launched a timeshift service, Four Plus 1, on 27 June 2014. It was a standard hour delayed timeshift channel of the Four broadcast. Four Plus 1 was initially only available on digital terrestrial with satellite launched a week later on Sky's fifth digital transport.